Two in court over alleged Belfast blackmail

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Two men appeared in court on Tuesday accused of blackmail and imprisoning an assault victim at a house in south Belfast.

David Carlton, 28, and Daniel Kerr, 27, were arrested in connection with an alleged violent break-in on Saturday.

They are jointly charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm to a man and falsely imprisoning him.

The alleged offences relate to an incident at a property on Hartington Court, off the Dublin Road.

Carlton, of Claremont Street in Belfast, and Kerr, from University Street in the city, are also accused of aggravated burglary with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

It is alleged that they entered the home carrying a pair of pliers.

Further charges against the pair involve threatening to kill a second man and blackmailing him by demanding £350 with menaces.

No further details of the incident were disclosed during the hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

Lawyers for the defendants confirmed they are contesting the allegations against them.

Carlton’s solicitor, Eoghan McKenna, said his client does not know the two complainants.

“He has no previous history with them,” Mr McKenna added.

Both men were granted bail despite objections from an investigating detective inspector.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall banned them from entering part of the city of having any contact with the alleged victims.

She ordered them to return to court next month.